Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu introduced a motion Aug. 25 to establish a permanent version of “LA Al Fresco,” a program launched by Mayor Eric Garcetti earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic to allow restaurants more outdoor seating, by expanding into parking lots, sidewalks, and other areas.

David Ryu

Ryu introduced legislation in May seeking outdoor, sidewalk, and parking lot dining before the mayor announced the LA Al Fresco program.

“LA Al Fresco has been a lifeline to our local restaurants,” Ryu said. “It’s a resource that should be permanent in the City of Los Angeles. We need more programs that cut through red tape to support local businesses and give communities a new sense of vibrancy. I commend the mayor for creating LA Al Fresco, and I think it should be here to stay.”

LA Al Fresco, launched on May 29, allows restaurants to set up safe and socially distanced dining tables on sidewalks, parking lots, street parking, and lane closures. Currently, 1,586 Los Angeles restaurants are participating in the program, which Garcetti recently extended to the end of 2020. Restaurants can apply and receive approval in as little as one day.

In its most recent phase, LA Al Fresco will dedicate 55% of program resources to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) businesses or located in areas that have experienced disproportionate job loss due to COVID-19.

Ryu’s motion seeks a “permanent Al Fresco program that allows a streamlined outdoor dining permitting process” for interested restaurants. He also introduced legislation to establish a local wage-replacement program earlier this month.

Read the motion here.

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